Tokyo Notebook

-・- From My Everyday Life to Japanese Culture -・- Why don't you see the real Japan, not the typical foreigners' version.

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16 2013

Where is Your Pearl Necklace? – 1

Finally, I got my pearl necklaces within 9 months of setting my mind to it.

#This article is what I (who was a person with very little understanding of pearl) thought through the quest for pearl necklaces. Maybe, some of you have an appreciation for pearls, but please, no flames about my honest discussion.
#In the post, “pearl” means Akoya pearl cultured in Japan.

I had been seized with a keen desire to have a pearl necklace since last fall. The start was that I saw many women in France enjoyed each and every kind of pearls freely and easily. Then, returning to Japan, I read an impressive episode of Kaoru Kanetaka (a pioneering journalist and TV talent) about pearls in her book. In 1960’s when she traveled abroad for taping a TV program, she always wore pearls that were one of specialty goods and export of Japan for promoting them. Her episode made me realize that I live in “the land of peal” and find myself thinking about wearing our beautiful pearls in everyday life. Seriously, I thought I had to wear pearls.

I didn’t have a pearl necklace, nor had knowledge about it, so I started to seek information and browse in jewelry stores last fall. Then, in the end, I didn’t buy any at that time because I sensed a strong discomfort at the current state of pearl jewelry in Japan.

I think there are strong stereotypical pearl values among users. In simpler terms, many women place too much value on a “perfect pearl”: Large (7.5mm or over), Round, Thick Layered pearls with excellent Luster without Spots in specific Colors. Why do they have to be like that?

In Japan, pearl jewelry, especially the necklace, is quite popular. It’s a standard ornament in the situation where gauderies aren’t suitable (i.e. a funeral, child's entrance and graduate ceremony, a daytime formal party and so on). For example, at the funeral almost all adult women wear a pearl necklace, and those people might feel it would be a shame if one’s pearls are far behind from others. So, many people would believe that one should buy a high-quality "lifetime products" as far as possible. The perfect pearl is an ideal lifetime product.

Thought it depends on people how much one can pay for their lifetime product, I’m sure that one would buy an expensive necklace for that person. Then, what happen? They usually keep it in a safe place and wear it at the few occasions like a funeral (I call that a pearl competitive show). Except pearl lovers, it’s a common phenomenon. But perhaps one can't help it. If I splash out and buy my lifetime product, I wouldn’t wear it daily.

I wanted a daily necklace with smaller pearls of good quality (not premier class) that I can wear even when I dress down, and it was difficult to get one at jewelers, brick-and-mortar shops, because I had fewer options. The jewelers, in general, assort products based on the typical demand I wrote earlier, so they sell a limited variety of the products using 5.0 – 7.0 mm pearls what are told “too small to wear because one might feel inferior”.
私はあくまでも日常ばんばん使う、ジーンズにも合わせられるような、最高クラスではないけど質の良い小粒の真珠が欲しかったのです。でも、宝飾店(実店舗)はそういう商品の数自体が少なく、選びようがありませんでした。宝飾店は既に書いたような一般的ニーズに合わせて品揃えしていますから、私が欲しかった5.0 – 7.0mmの商品は元々少ないのです。まぁ、そんな大きさの真珠は引け目を感じて身に着けられませんからねぇ、葬儀では。

Unlike in the case of the jewelers, I had a lot of options at Internet mail order shops, but I just had to wonder whether I could get what I imaged at those shops. Furthermore, I couldn’t sense my connection to teeming products they sold. I saw more than hundreds of necklaces on line, and to my eyes, the products seemed to be a collection of uniformity.

At the same time, I felt as if everyone thought ordinary pearls except those of premier class were empty of value. However, essentially, pearls are blessings from pearl oysters that break their back for producing. I thought one has to have a respectful attitude toward all pearls even if it couldn’t be round and white. We could make every pearl enjoyable according to originality of them (if wearing it only at the funeral, one can’t imagine how to enjoy it). If one select middle class pearls, it NOT has to be that one can’t buy “perfect pearls”.

For these reasons, I was in a sad mood and stopped the quest for pearl necklaces last winter. Then, I restarted it a month ago and got the necklaces in the opening photo. I’ll write about the story in the next post.

Posted by Kinakinw | 15:33 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Pearl

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